Washington (CNN) - As House Democratic leaders advised their members Friday to prepare for a legislative battle over health care that could stretch through next weekend, four additional rank-and-file Democrats have come out against the Obama administration's signature domestic priority.
Reps. Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Luiz Gutierrez of Illinois, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin of South Dakota and Heath Shuler of North Carolina say they will vote against their party's health care plan, which may be headed to a final vote late next week.
"At this time, I am a 'no' vote on health care," said Gutierrez in a written statement. "It's no secret that I have been critical of proposals that would exclude our nation's hardworking immigrants from the health care exchange, and I would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to vote for any measure that denies undocumented workers health care purchased with their own dollars."
According to an ongoing CNN survey, 21 House Democrats have now indicated they will vote against the Senate bill when it comes to the floor, though six of those members say they would consider voting for it if it were significantly modified. Opponents of the bill need a total of 38 Democrats to vote against the measure to ensure its defeat, assuming that all Republican members remain unified in their opposition.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/11/art.housedems.file.gi.jpg caption="An ongoing CNN survey reveals that House Democrats face an uphill battle to pass health care."]Washington (CNN) - House Democratic leaders hoping to pass a health care reform bill by the Easter congressional recess face increasingly difficult odds, as several of the party's rank-and-file have come out against the plan passed by the Senate in December.
According to an ongoing CNN survey, 17 House Democrats indicate that they would vote no on the Senate plan as currently written, including six members who voted in favor of the House bill passed in November.
Several of these representatives indicated that they would consider voting for the Senate bill if it were significantly modified. However, the lack of support among these members for the underlying plan passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve illustrates the challenge party leaders face in winning over enough votes to pass what has become the Obama administration's signature legislative priority.
Some members made clear that their votes are not negotiable.
Josh Taylor, a spokesman for Texas Rep. Chet Edwards, said the congressman "voted no on health care the first time around and will vote no the second."